HC Deb 04 April 1984 vol 57 cc594-5W
Mr. Irving

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what consultation his Department has with educational authorities about the content of training courses for opticians; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

The Opticians Act 1958 established the General Optical Council. It is this body, not Ministers, which approves institutions giving instruction to persons training as opticians and approves those qualifications which lead to registration as an ophthalmic or dispensing optician. It has a statutory duty to keep itself informed of the nature of qualifications and of the instruction at approved training institutions, and the council appoints visitors to report to it on these subjects.

Our Department provides financial support for refresher training courses for opticians and is represented on the joint academic board which supervises these courses in order to ensure they are relevant to the needs of opticians in contract with family practitioner committees.

The joint academic board is being replaced by a committee under the auspices of the British College of Ophthalmic Opticians. Our Department will continue to be represented.